Robert Champion was killed trying to “Cross Bus C.”
His death has resulted in numerous changes at his institution, Florida A&M University, and at colleges across the country. Along with the death of George Desdunes at Cornell in the Spring of 2011, this death is directly responsible for changing the discussion around hazing and its consequences.
Today’s anniversary, and the renewal of the “Florida Classic” football game in Orlando, has brought several reflection pieces in the media. I encourage you to read them all.
- Associated Press (via Seattlepi.com) – Hazing death casts shadow over 2012 Fla. Classic
- The Sporting News – On anniversary of FAMU drum major’s death, his parents target hazing
- Diverse: Issues in Higher Education – A Year Later, Hazing Scandal Still Shadows FAMU
- USA Today – Despite prevention efforts, hazing persists on campuses
- Tampa Bay Times – Recounting the deadly hazing that destroyed FAMU band’s reputation
Even with all of the attention on this issue, and the preventions efforts around the country, students have continued to die in 2012 (from Hank Nuwer’s list of hazing deaths):
- Will Torrance, Vincennes (IN), Delta Gamma Iota (banned chapter at school), Alcohol-related on Bid Day
- Everett Glenn, Lafayette College, Kappa Delta Rho and other fraternity chapters visited by victim prior to his death “The president of Lafayette College said that a student died after drinking at a banned chapter of Kappa Delta Rho. Members of KDR denied that recruiting had occurred, according to the Lafayette student newspaper.”
- Phillip Dhanens, Fresno State, Theta Chi, Died of alcohol poisoning while celebrating his bid acceptance
- There are two other suspicious pledge deaths from this fall that may make the list as the results of investigations become available.
Perhaps the only good thing that has come out of this tragedy is the increased awareness of the problem, and more media attention. I think you can expect it to continue for quite a while, and you will see more decisive steps taken by campuses and organizations to pursue a change in the culture surrounding these issues. The recent suspension of all fraternity/sorority activities at Chico State is perhaps the most dramatic, but probably not the last.
Here’s to hoping that 2012 brings an end to the long chain of hazing deaths, and gets us closer to the fraternal values that can, and should, define the college experience in a variety of activities (including fraternities, sororities, bands, etc.)